Parashat toldot: Every person is a whole world

One of the great Jewish philosophers of the 19th century was Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808-88), a German Orthodox rabbi.

November 15, 2017 19:49
3 minute read.
PUPILS PRAY at the Kehilot Ya’acov Torah School for Boys in Jerusalem

PUPILS PRAY at the Kehilot Ya’acov Torah School for Boys in Jerusalem. (photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)


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Last week we finished reading the life story of Abraham, the first of the three patriarchs of the Jewish nation. In this week’s parasha, Toldot, we turn to the life of his son, Isaac, the second patriarch, and immediately we read the stories of the twin brothers, Jacob and Esau, who were so different in character from one another.

The parasha goes into great detail regarding the competition between Jacob and Esau to find favor in the eyes of their parents, Rebekah and Isaac. This conflict is summarized in the verse: “And Isaac loved Esau… but Rebekah loved Jacob” (Genesis 25, 28)


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